Stabilo CarbOthello Pencils

12-60 count pack

Charcoal core

Round barrel

Mid to premium-priced


Great blending and unique texture

Vivid color

Reasonable price


Can be a bit messy

Smaller sets will require some mixing 


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Stabilo CarbOthello Pastel Pencils Review

The CarbOthello pastel pencils by Stabilo are pastel pencils that have a quite unique chalky texture to them.  Like many pastels, these blend quite well and are viable in both wet and dry applications.  The color output is good to quite good, even after dilution through blending and the color options are acceptable especially in the larger sets.  These 4.4mm charcoal cores come in a round barrel in quantities from 12 up to 60.

Visual Appeal – 4/5

These have quite a high pigmentation for a charcoal pencil, and as such, they can lay down some pretty good color.  This is especially helpful when blending, which you will need to do to achieve many colors if you are going with one of their smaller-quantity sets.  The larger sets have a very good range of warm and gray colors, and vibrancy is on-par across the board.  When using with water, strokes keep a lot of their color which should help minimize how many layers are applied.  This can come in handy when trying to cover large areas of a piece with a single color and tone.

Usability and Durability – 3.5/5

Being a rather chalky charcoal-based pencil, these can get a bit messy during use.  This isn’t anything unique and is typical of this type of core.  It is a small price to pay for the great blending and overall feel, however.  Strokes with these pencils feel controlled, thick, and waxy.  Altering pressure can result in a dynamic range of application depths which can really open up what you are capable of with minimal effort.  With water, the choices are even greater.  Really these are extremely versatile pencils and even play nicely with other pencil lines.  Sharpening difficulty is about average and they should hold up to a decent amount of abuse.

Packaging and Presentation – 4/5

These pencils come in an attractive case and, depending on the quantity, can even be purchased in a wood case with two levels and included sharpener and eraser.  The pencils themselves are externally colored to match the core color and the base is a whitish gray color.  The type and color of the pencil is also stamped on the outside of the barrel.  This all combines for a very attractive, classy look that we think you will enjoy.

Cost – 4/5

These pencils are in the mid to premium-priced range, which makes them competitive with other higher-end scholastic grade pencils and lower-end professional grade pencils.  Considering the performance of these and the fact that they will hold up against some of the best, this is a perfectly reasonable price.  And it is also a chance for you to likely try something new in a charcoal-based colored pencil.

Overall Ranking – 4/5

A great-performing, versatile, and downright fun example of a charcoal pencil.  Great blending and vivid color make these a good choice for any project and the relative ease of use makes them an acceptable set for a novice or an experienced artist alike.  Color options are varied enough to appease most and the presentation is quite nice. No major negatives and plenty of positives make this a definite recommendation from us if you are in the market for some chalky pastels.

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